To assist passengers and their families after major aircraft-related
emergencies, American Airlines created the Customer Assistance Relief Effort
(CARE). Formed in 1993, the CARE team carries out the airline's Survivor/Family
Assistance Plan in accordance with the Aviation Disaster Family Assistance Act
CARE team members are mobilized through a notification process that makes them available to help almost immediately. Composed of over 1,000 specially trained volunteers from the ranks of American and American Eagle, members speak more than 60 languages. When needed, one group works to rapidly establish contact with those involved, while others are assigned to provide direct personal assistance.
CARE volunteers are assigned to passengers, crewmembers and their families,
and perform various duties. For example, they may make flight arrangements,
assist with other transportation, arrange hotel accommodations, provide food
and emergency clothing, assist with the return of personal belongings, and help
keep passengers and families informed. Upon request, CARE team members will
also escort passengers and/or family members attending scheduled
accident-related events, including memorial services, funerals and visits to
the accident site. While CARE team members do not perform counseling or other
emotional support functions, they will coordinate access to the appropriate
professionals on request.
Behind the scenes, CARE leadership directs the team's efforts from the CARE
Operations Center in Fort Worth, Texas. The team also forms working liaisons
with the National Transportation Safety Board's Office of Transportation Disaster Assistance, the American Red Cross, and other supporting agencies and
The unique nature of their role places heavy demands on team members' time,
home life, and emotions. In preparation, employees participate in an intensive
two-day training session, developed by American with assistance from emergency
management consultants and employees involved with previous emergencies. The
training provides volunteers with detailed information about logistics, the
company's crisis plan, the CARE program, and the emotional aspects of accident
response. Volunteers may only join CARE after successfully completing training
and discussing the commitment with their families. As a result, the CARE team
is thus motivated, well prepared, and always ready to provide assistance in the
aftermath of aircraft-related emergencies.
CARE volunteers can be found around the world, including the United States,
Latin America, the Caribbean, Europe, Japan, Mexico and Canada.
Revised July 2008